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Where to See Colorado’s Fall Colors

It’s an annual autumn tradition in Colorado: Take a weekend or an afternoon off to see the aspen trees turn to gold, sometimes tipped with orange and even red. But exactly where and when should you go to see this natural wonder?

The when depends roughly on elevation (the higher the elevation, the sooner the leaves tend to change over), but generally about mid-September into early October. A quick day hike into the foothills from the Front Range cities of Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or Fort Collins can yield many pretty photo ops of aspen leaves quaking in the fall breeze.

Perhaps the most dependable route is the Peak-to-Peak Highway, a 55-mile scenic drive less than an hour from Denver that showcases fall colors in a national and state parks. Begin the drive in Estes Park, gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park, or off I-70 near the Central City exit, and put aside at least three hours for the full drive. If you opt for a weekend away, try YMCA of the Rockies for affordable lodgings for groups of all sizes, with lots of family-friendly activities. They also have a location in Granby, 90 minutes from Denver, where lodging includes yurts.

yurt in Colorado surrounded by fall color
Spend a weekend away in a yurt with YMCA of the Rockies. Photo © Mindy Sink.

When the aspen leaves are shimmering gold in Colorado’s high country, the Front Range on the eastern side of the state provides leaf peepers a second chance to see autumn’s glory. Denver’s lower elevation means that leaves change color weeks later than typically higher up. This is true in Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Fort Collins too. For those who miss peak season in the Rockies, come down to a mile high or so to check out the reds, oranges, and golds in the cities at these locations.

  • Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens to see fall blooms and the leaves of change.
  • Denver’s City Park has a Tree Walk through the park’s arboretum.
  • Washington Park offers strolls through flower gardens and many trees, including several State Champion Trees.
  • The University of Denver campus is home to the Chester M. Alter Arboretum.
  • The University of Colorado campus in Boulder is a perfect place to wander among the historic buildings while fall leaves crunch underfoot.
  • Known for its Master Gardener program, Colorado State University is also home to an arboretum.
  • While there isn’t much growing at the top of 14,000-foot Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, you can still catch some beautiful colors driving up or hiking at lower elevations on the mountain.
  • It’s hard to beat the red rock formations and brilliant fall leaves surrounding them at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
Travel map of Denver, CO
Denver
Travel map of Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins
Travel map of Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs
Travel map of Boulder, CO
Boulder

Fall color in Colorado Pinterest graphic

Seeing Stars in LA: Stargazing and Celebrity Landmarks

There are two types of stars to watch for in LA: celebrities and, well, stars. For your fill of classic Hollywood stars, take a gander at these celebrity landmarks in Hollywood. If you’d like to sight some celestial bodies along with your celebrities, head to Griffith Observatory.

Hollywood

The world’s movie capital earned its reputation during the boom of the 1920s when the entertainment industry cast Hollywood in its own opulent image. Today, the only “real” movie businesses remaining are the blockbuster premieres at the major movie theaters here. Paramount Studios, at Melrose and Gower, is the last of the big five studios still active in Hollywood proper. But some of the old Tinseltown glitz remains. Fine restaurants draw glamorous crowds after dark, and celebrities still attend blockbuster premieres at the iconic movie theaters in Hollywood.

Hollywood Boulevard. Photo © Lisa Robinson/The Department of Creativity.
Hollywood Boulevard. Photo © Lisa Robinson/The Department of Creativity.

TCL Chinese Theatre

[pullquote align=right]Fame is what Hollywood is all about, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to the world’s most famous sidewalk.[/pullquote]The most famous movie theater in the world literally made its mark with the handprints and footprints of silver-screen stars. Although official accounts say actress Norma Talmadge sparked a Hollywood tradition when she accidentally stepped into the wet concrete, the theater’s owner, Sid Grauman, took credit for the idea.

Today, millions of tourists visit TCL Chinese Theatre (6925 Hollywood Blvd., 323/464-8111) to ogle the 200 celebrity prints and autographs immortalized in concrete. The first footprints belong to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (1927); more recent additions include Robert De Niro and Sandra Bullock.

The theater’s ornate architecture features a large dragon across the front, two stone Chinese guardian lions at the entrance, and etched shadow dragons along the copper roof. Inside, wall murals greet movie ticket holders. A glass case in the west wing displays three wax figures outfitted in authentic Chinese costumes.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Fame is what Hollywood is all about, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to the world’s most famous sidewalk. Each year 10 million people visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Hollywood Blvd. from La Brea Ave. to Vine St., 323/469-8311), a 1.3-mile stretch that commemorates the entertainment industry’s elite. Inspired by the handprints at Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars are embedded into a charcoal background along Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. To find a specific star, check the directory online map.

Though official groundbreaking did not occur until 1960, eight inaugural stars were temporarily planted on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Highland in 1958 to gain public attention. Contrary to popular belief, Joanne Woodward was not the first to be immortalized. The first permanent star is found at the intersection of Hollywood and Gower, and belongs to Stanley Kramer, director of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, among others.

Ms. Woodward, however, was the first to be photographed with her star. A circular, bronze emblem symbolizes one of five categories: motion pictures, broadcast television, music or audio recording, broadcast radio, and theater. Gene Autry is the only recipient with stars in all five categories.

Spencer Tracy's Hollywood Star. Photo © Lisa Robinson/The Department of Creativity.
Spencer Tracy’s Hollywood Star. Photo © Lisa Robinson/The Department of Creativity.

Who deems Walk of Fame hopefuls “worthy” enough to join the more than 2,500 deified legends? A special committee bound by rules, procedures, and financing selects the honoree. The price of a star is about $30,000 and is usually paid by the representing movie company or record label.

Sunset Strip

It’s been the playground of mobsters, Hollywood celebrities, and rock stars: The Sunset Strip has a long colorful history. The 1.5-mile portion of Sunset Boulevard stretches from Havenhurst Drive in West Hollywood to Sierra Drive near Beverly Hills. Infamous gangsters Bugsy Siegel, Micky Cohen (who was shot at what today is called the Key Club), Johnny Roselli, and Tony Comero were regulars at The Melody Room (a.k.a. The Viper), using it as a gambling den.

Nightclubs and upscale restaurants attracted stars such as Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Jean Harlowe, and Lana Turner. Famed writers Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald lived at the Garden of Allah apartments that once stood between Crescent Heights and Havenhurst. Howard Hughes lived in the penthouse of the Argyle Hotel (known as the Sunset Tower Hotel, 8358 Sunset Blvd.), as did John Wayne, who kept a cow on his apartment balcony.

Decades worth of up-and-coming rock acts first made their names on the Strip and lived at the “Riot Hyatt.” Today, you’ll still find many of the Strip’s legendary rock clubs here, such as The Roxy, the Whisky a Go Go, and The Rainbow Bar & Grill. At night, especially on weekends, no one is alone on the Strip. Don’t plan to drive quickly or park on the street after dark; the crowds get big, complete with celebrity hounds hoping for a glimpse of their favorite star out for a night on the town.

Griffith Park

The 4,210-acre Griffith Park (4730 Crystal Springs Dr., 323/913-4688, 6am-10pm daily) is the largest municipal park in the country, with numerous opportunities for mingling with nature while enjoying some of the city’s iconic sights. It’s also recognizable from its role as the backdrop for many films, including Rebel Without a Cause and Back to the Future.

The cosmos come alive at Griffith Observatory (2800 E. Observatory Rd., 213/473-0800, noon-10pm Tues.-Fri., 10am-10pm Sat.-Sun., free), the park’s most popular sight. Experienced stargazers help visitors explore the galaxies through demonstrations of powerful telescopes. At the entrance, a Foucault pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the Earth, while other displays focus on the moon and ocean tides. Planetarium shows ($7) occur daily.

Griffith Observatory. Photo © Lisa Robinson/The Department of Creativity.
Griffith Observatory. Photo © Lisa Robinson/The Department of Creativity.

The park has several fun activities for kids, including the L.A. Zoo and Botanical Gardens (5333 Zoo Dr., 10am-5pm daily, $19 adults, $14 children), the Travel Town Railroad (5200 Zoo Dr., 323/662-5874, 10am-4pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat.-Sun., $3), pony rides, and a swimming pool. Educational sights include the Autry National Center of the American West (4700 Western Heritage Way, 323/667-2000, 9am-4pm Tues.-Fri., 9am-5pm Sat.-Sun., $10 adults, $6 students, $4 children 3-12, free children under 3), which holds an impressive collection of more than 500,000 Western and Native American artworks and artifacts.

A 53-mile network of hiking trails offers chances to spot local wildlife such as deer, coyotes, wild quail, and foxes. Many trails lead to viewpoints that include the Hollywood Sign; the most spectacular is from the observatory parking lot to Mount Hollywood. In a wooded canyon, the Bird Sanctuary (323/666-5046, 2900 N. Vermont Ave., 10am-5pm daily) provides the perfect spot for bird-watching, while the Ferndell Nature Museum (Fern Dell Dr., at the Western Canyon entrance to the park, 6am-10pm daily), an outdoor exhibit, lets visitors explore native species of ferns, flowers, and plants. There is a snack stand and picnic area nearby to enjoy in the cool shade along a babbling brook.

map of Hollywood
Hollywood

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip.

Upcountry Maui Hiking: Makawao

While much of the land behind Makawao is either privately owned ranchland or part of the state watershed system, two well-maintained trails provide Makawao hikers with a couple of options for getting back into the forest.

[pullquote align=right]If you don’t feel like dealing with throngs of bikers, head to the Waihou Spring Trail.[/pullquote]In the heart of the Makawao Forest Reserve, the Kahakapao Loop Trail is popular with mountain bikers and families walking their dogs. This forested 5.7-mile loop weaves through eucalyptus and pines, and the air is cool at just over 3,000 feet elevation.

Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui. Photo © Juerg Baumann/123rf.
Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui. Photo © Juerg Baumann/123rf.

To reach the trailhead from Makawao, follow Makawao Avenue toward Ha‘iku for 0.3 mile before turning right on Pi‘iholo Road. After 1.5 miles, just past the Pi‘iholo zipline tours, take a left at the fork in the road and follow it for 0.5 mile. Here you’ll make a right onto Kahakapao Road and drive 1.5 miles on a narrow uphill until you reach a metal gate (open 7am-7pm daily). From the gate, a steep asphalt road continues for another 0.5 miles until it reaches a gravel parking lot. Expect to encounter some cyclists while hiking, since it’s a multiuse network of trails.

If you don’t feel like dealing with throngs of bikers, head to the Waihou Spring Trail, toward the top of Olinda Road. This two-mile trail is only open to hikers and doesn’t have as steep an elevation gain as at Kahakapao. It’s uniquely situated among an experimental planting of pine trees, and while the wooded trail is nice enough for walking, the treat is at the end, where a steep switchback leads to a hidden gulch. Here you’ll find a 30-foot vertical rock face with tunnels bored through, and if you have a flashlight, you can climb in the tunnels and follow them for a short distance. To reach the trailhead for Waihou Springs, go to Makawao’s only intersection and follow Olinda Road uphill for five very curvy miles.

Map of Upcountry Maui, Hawaii
Upcountry

Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Maui.

Birthplace of Route 66: Oklahoma

The myth and majesty conjured by America’s Mother Road began in Oklahoma, the birthplace of Route 66.

Tulsa native Cyrus Avery, often called the “Father of Route 66,” was a board member of the Federal Highway System and founded the U.S. 66 Highway Association. Avery coined Route 66 as the “Main St. of America;” it can be argued that, without Avery’s influence, Route 66 may not have become the celebrated icon it is today. In the late 1920s, less than one-quarter of the 400 miles of Route 66 through Oklahoma were paved. From 1926 to 1951, the Mother Road was rerouted, realigned, straightened, widened, and ultimately shortened to about 380 miles.

Beckham County Courthouse in Sayre, Oklahoma. Photo © Candacy Taylor.
Beckham County Courthouse in Sayre, Oklahoma. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

[pullquote align=right] In 1887, the federal government realized the Indian Territory could be farmed and passed the Dawes Act, opening up nearly 2 million acres of land to white settlement.[/pullquote]Three major migrations color the history of this state. From 1828 to 1887, the U.S. government began the process of forcing American Indians off their native land and onto the Trail of Tears to walk to the “Indian Territory,” what eventually became the state of Oklahoma. The forced migration resulted in relocating 67 tribes to Oklahoma; today about 38 tribes remain. In 1887, the federal government realized the Indian Territory could be farmed and passed the Dawes Act, opening up nearly 2 million acres of land to white settlement. The historic Land Runs attracted more than 50,000 land-hungry prospectors.

During the Great Depression, overuse of the soil coupled with severe drought eroded the earth. Strong winds blew away the topsoil, forming dark clouds of dust that made working, living, and even breathing nearly impossible. The resulting Dust Bowl saw more than 200,000 survivors use Route 66 to escape poverty. Author John Steinbeck labeled Route 66 as a “migrant road” and the “path of people in flight” as families headed west. Folk musician Woody Guthrie wrote in his song Dust Bowl Disaster, “We loaded up our jalopies and piled our families in. We rattled down that highway to never come back again.”

The Woody Guthrie Center in Oklahoma. Photo © Candacy Taylor.
The Woody Guthrie Center in Oklahoma. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

Highlights

  • Sidewalk Highway, Miami: Tackle one of the earliest segments of the Mother Road.
  • Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Claremore: Nearly 20,000-square feet of exhibits memorialize this Route 66 icon.
  • Greenwood Cultural Center, Tulsa: This museum and memorial commemorates one of the worst race riots in U.S. history.
  • Pops, Arcadia: Browse more than 600 different kinds of soda pop in one the brightest, coolest, and newest landmarks on Route 66.
  • William H. Murray “Pony Bridge,” Geary: This 1930s engineering marvel is one of the longest bridges on Route 66.
  • Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton: Learn about Route 66’s myth, history, and lore in one of its best museums.
The William H. Murray Bridge in OK. Photo © Miroslav Liska, 123rf.
The William H. Murray Bridge in OK. Photo © Miroslav Liska, 123rf.

Planning Your Time

With selective planning, you can make it across Oklahoma in two days. From the state line, plan your road trip to hit Miami, Afton, and Foyil before reaching Tulsa, where you’ll spend the night. The next day, travel 107 miles to Oklahoma City, where you’ll spend the second night. Then it’s just 115 miles to the Texas state line.

Route Tips

The original alignment of Route 66 entered the state from the west at the Kansas border and continued through Quapaw, Commerce, and Miami, a stretch of Route 66 primarily labeled Highway 69. Once you hit Afton, the road becomes Highway 60/69 into Vinita, then is mostly labeled Route 66 into Tulsa and Oklahoma City. West of the city capital, rolling tree-studded hills give way to wide-open plains as Route 66 heads straight into the Texas panhandle.

Interstate 44 (also called the Will Rogers Turnpike) enters Oklahoma near Afton and is the major east-west artery through the state; I-44 also runs alongside much of Route 66, so it’s a good alternate road to use if you’re short on time. I-40 enters the state on the east side south of Tulsa and runs directly to Oklahoma City. From Oklahoma City, I-35 is the major north-south route from Dallas, Texas, to Wichita, Kansas.

Lucille's Service Station in Hydro, OK. Photo © Candacy Taylor.
Lucille’s Service Station in Hydro, OK. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

Route 66 passes through several small towns with gas stations, so there’s no need to worry about running out as long as you keep the tank at least half full. To save money, fill up in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, where gas is less expensive. Be forewarned that Oklahoma weather can be intense and unpredictable; in November, Oklahoma can be colder and windier than Chicago.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Route 66 Road Trip.

The Best of O‘ahu in 7 Days

The average stay on O‘ahu is about seven days. With sights and activities on all sides of the island, planning your days will help you take full advantage of your holiday. Let this suggested itinerary to the must-see locales and establishments be a jumping-off point for your travels. If you need more beach days during your stay, by all means, pencil yourself in for all you can handle.

Day 1

For most visitors, Waikiki will be home base. Spend the first day getting acclimated to the weather and acquainted with the surroundings right outside your hotel. Follow the Historic Waikiki Trail around town, a self-guided tour describing the history of the area.

Walk the beach path, stop at Waikiki Beach for a swim, stroll down Kalakaua Avenue and enjoy pau hana (happy hour) at The Shorebird, The Beach Bar at the Moana Surfrider, or on the upstairs deck at Tiki’s.

A plate of ahi poke.
Photo © Turtle Bay Resort.

After freshening up back at the hotel, head out for dinner at the Hau Tree Lanai, Sansei Seafood, or Top of Waikiki.

Day 2

Have breakfast in Waikiki at Kai Market while rush hour traffic subsides, then head to Honolulu’s historic district. Start at the Hawai‘i State Capitol then go next door and tour ‘Iolani Palace. Visit the Kamehameha I Statue, Kawaika‘o Church, and the Mission Houses Museum.

Next, head to Ala Moana Center for lunch and shopping. Finish up the day in Chinatown. Stroll through fine art galleries like The ARTS at Marks Garage and the Pegge Hopper gallery. For Chinatown’s premier Chinese restaurant, visit Little Village Noodle House. If you’re looking for a sampling of Pacific Rim cuisine, stop by the Maunakea Marketplace Food Court. For amazing ramen try Lucky Belly.

If you want to keep the party rolling, head into an Irish pub like J.J. Dolan’s or Murphy’s. If your vacation coincides with the first Friday of the month, save Honolulu for that day and be a part of Chinatown’s lively First Friday celebration.

Day 3

Head to the southeast and windward shores, where there are a lot of ocean-related activities to consider. Start out by snorkeling Hanauma Bay. You’ll need to get there before 9am to find a parking spot. If you prefer adventure sports, dive, Jet Ski, wakeboard, parasail, or deep-sea fish in Maunalua Bay.

Hanauma Bay has the best snorkeling on the South Shore. Photo © Kevin Whitton.
Hanauma Bay has the best snorkeling on the South Shore. Photo © Kevin Whitton.

If you prefer hiking, spend the morning on the 1,000-plus steps of the Koko Crater Trail, walking through the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, or making your way to the lighthouse at Makapu‘u Point, a great vantage point for whale-watching.

Next, check out the pounding shore break at Sandy Beach, then drive up to Kailua for a relaxing afternoon. Have lunch at Kalapawai Market or Buzz’s, then retreat to the beach. Bask on the fine white sand or rent a kayak and paddle out to Flat Island or all the way to the Mokulua Islands. Alternatively, you can head north to paddle in Kahana Bay and visit the ancient fishponds.

If you have any steam left, take the meandering drive up Kamehameha Highway to the town of La‘ie. You can grab dinner and a show at the Polynesian Cultural Center or choose one of the small local eateries along the coast. For the brave of heart, beeline for the La‘ie Point State Wayside for cliff-jumping and magnificent views of the windward coast.

Day 4

Strike out early and be at the front of the line to see the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. There are several memorials, museums, and sites to visit, so you can tailor your experience to your liking.

The USS Bowfin at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Pearl Harbor. Photo © Kevin Whitton.
The USS Bowfin at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Pearl Harbor. Photo © Kevin Whitton.

Golfers should head to the ‘Ewa Plain to play one of several challenging courses. Or continue past ‘Ewa out to Ko Olina, where you can play golf, relax in the seaside lagoons, and eat at one of the fine dining restaurants like Roy’s or Monkey Pod Kitchen.

If hiking is more your style, get up early and drive out to Yokohama Bay on the leeward side. Known as the Ka‘ena Point State Park, the natural reserve at the western tip of the island can’t be missed for its rugged beauty and wildlife. On your way back, surf or relax at Makaha Beach, have dinner in Ko Olina, and watch the sunset from Paradise Cove.

Day 5

After being out and about for a few days, recalibrate by staying near home and take in the sights around Waikiki. Go up Diamond Head first thing in the morning and then have lunch at Bogart’s or Diamond Head Cove Health Bar. Check out the Diamond Head beaches or head back across Kapi‘olani Park to the Honolulu Zoo or the Waikiki Aquarium.

For live music during happy hour, head to Duke’s Waikiki and hang out in the Barefoot Bar. Put in your reservation for dinner and enjoy a beachside meal watching the sunset over Waikiki Beach. If you’re there on a Sunday, be a part of the festivities of Duke’s on Sunday on the lanai.

Day 6

It’s time to be North Shore bound. For shopping, sightseeing, and dining, stop in historic Hale‘iwa Town. Visit the art galleries and get shave ice at Matsumoto’s.

A cone of shave ice in rainbow colors from Matsumoto's in Haleiwa.
A must-stop in Hale‘iwa is Matsumoto Shave Ice. Photo © chelle_1278, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Kayak or stand-up paddle the ‘Anahulu River, then head north and explore Waimea Bay, Pipeline, and Sunset Beach for snorkeling in the summertime and wave-watching in the winter. During summer, snorkeling and diving at Three Tables and Sharks Cove are a must.

Continue north to Turtle Bay Resort for sunset drinks at the outdoor, oceanside Hang Ten Bar & Grill, then venture over to Lei Lei’s for dinner on one of Turtle Bay’s famous greens. If you’re operating on a budget, skip Turtle Bay and drive to Kahuku Superette for some of the best poke on the island.

To add some adventure, shark dive from Hale‘iwa Harbor, or take a glider ride or skydive in Mokule‘ia. Catch a seaside polo match at Hawai‘i Polo on Sunday afternoons during the summer. If your plans allow for dinner in Hale‘iwa, don’t miss Hale‘iwa Joe’s.

Day 7

Soak up the sun and take advantage of all the ocean activities Waikiki has to offer. Stop by and chat with one of the beachboys about surfing or stand-up paddle lessons and surf iconic Waikiki surf breaks Queen’s and Canoes. Take a ride and surf an outrigger canoe, snorkel in the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District, hydrate under an umbrella on the beach and take a catamaran cruise off the Waikiki coast for a fresh perspective. If there’s still daylight left, paddle back out for a second session.


Excerpted from the Eighth Edition of Moon Honolulu & O’ahu.

Iceland’s Top 8 Winter Wonders

Sure, Iceland’s winter weather can be challenging. But you’ll be rewarded with these truly unique experiences that make it all worthwhile.

Northern Lights over a moss-covered lava field
Seeing the northern lights sparkling overhead is an incredible experience. Photo © Dreamstime.

1. Hunt for Northern Lights

The main season to see northern lights is October to March. You can book a guided tour or venture out on your own.

people soaking in Iceland's Blue Lagoon
A rejuvenating soak at the Blue Lagoon is a great way to kick off your trip or end it on a relaxing note. Photo © Ivanguart/Dreamstime.

2. Soak in the Blue Lagoon

The most popular tourist attraction in Iceland is popular for a reason—it’s a soothing, special experience. The winter is no exception. The Blue Lagoon is eerie and beautiful to soak during light snowfalls or while watching northern lights dance above on clear nights.

Horses in a field in Iceland
Horses in southern Iceland. Photo © Kunthika Panyawuthikrai/Dreamstime.

3. Ride Majestic Icelandic Horses

Icelandic horses are hardy creatures that are beautiful to ride along the snowy white landscape. Akureyri-based tour company Saga Travel offers horse-riding day tours from Akureyri and Mývatn.

Winter in Iceland
Winter in Iceland. Photo © Jenna Gottlieb.

4. Go Cross-country Skiing up North

Iceland isn’t known for its skiing, but it does have a well-maintained ski area up north, not too far from Akureyri. The Hlíðarfjall ski area has more than a dozen well-kept trails.

A glacier cave at Kverkfjöll volcano.
A glacier cave at Kverkfjöll volcano. Photo © Filip Fuxa/123rf.

5.Take a Glacier Walk

Tour operators offer the unique opportunity to hike on a glacier. They supply all the necessary equipment and provide pick-ups at your hotel or guesthouse. Icelandic Mountain Guides offers a year-round guided tour walking on a glacier in Skaftafell National Park.

a man sitting under the ice at Vatnajökull glacier.
Sitting under the ice at Vatnajökull glacier. Photo © Anna Omelchenko/123rf.

6. Ride Snowmobiles

It’s spectacular to glide atop the pristine white snow on crisp and clear winter days. Vatnajökull Travel features a year-round tour that includes snowmobile rides on Vatnajökull glacier, the biggest glacier in Europe.

A lively square in Reykjavík
A lively square in Reykjavík. Photo © Paanna/Dreamstime.

7. Embark on an Art Museum Crawl in Reykjavík

If the weather outside is frightful, head indoors to explore Iceland’s modern artists, like Erró, and old masters such as Jóhannes Kjarval at the Reykjavík Art Museum.

Waterfalls of Gullfoss in winter
Gullfoss in winter is also gorgeous. Photo © Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/123rf.

8.Tour the Golden Circle

Iceland’s number one tour is available year-round. Book a bus tour or drive the 300-kilometer route yourself. The frozen Gullfoss falls and the vast landscape in winter white are gorgeous.

Pinterest graphic with a photo of the northern lights and an ice cave in Iceland


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Iceland.

The Best of Maui in 10 Days

Experience the best of Maui with this itinerary, which covers everything from walking the Koloiki Ridge Trail to catching the sunrise from Wai‘anapanapa State Park to snorkeling at world-famous Ka‘anapali Beach.

Day 1

Given Hawai‘i’s time zone, you may wake up before dawn. Take advantage by catching sunrise at Haleakala. Allow two hours of travel from Ka‘anapali or Wailea and plan to arrive 30 minutes before sunrise. Spend an hour hiking into the crater. On your way down, have breakfast at Kula Lodge or La Provence. Spend the rest of the day relaxing poolside.

Day 2

Tackle another early-morning activity such as a snorkeling tour. Molokini tours depart from Ma‘alaea Harbor, while boats leave Ka‘anapali Beach for Olowalu or Honolua Bay. Finish by 2pm and spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach.

A moorish idol photographed in front of clusters of colorful coral.
A moorish idol at Molokini Crater. Photo © snorkelingdives.com, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Day 3

Enjoy Lahaina, ancient capital of the Hawaiian kingdom. Schedule a surf lesson or explore the town’s historic sites. Grab lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate or Cool Cat Café. Then head north to world-famous Ka‘anapali Beach, where you can snorkel, cliff jump, play in the surf, or rent a cabana. Explore the shops in Whalers Village, dine at Hula Grill, and catch a showing of ‘Ulalena back in Lahaina that evening.

Day 4

Catch the 6:45am ferry to the island of Lana‘i. Book a Jeep ahead of time and spend the morning exploring. Pick a remote beach such as Polihua, Lopa, or Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach). Then head back to Lana‘i City for a plate lunch at Blue Ginger.

If you’d rather be hiking, call Rabaca’s for a taxi up into town and the trailhead for the Koloiki Ridge Trail. Explore Lana‘i City before catching a taxi down to Hulopo‘e Beach. Then make the short walk to Hulopo‘e Beach. Snorkel along the reef or relax in the shade with a book. Hike around the corner to the Pu‘u Pehe Overlook, keeping an eye out for the spinner dolphins. Rinse off at the beach shower, grab a drink at the Four Seasons Resort, and get back to the harbor to catch the 6:45pm ferry back to Maui.

Tide pools at Hulopo'e Beach Park
Tide pools at Hulopo’e Beach Park. Photo © Heather Ellison.

Day 5

Sleep in before grabbing a late breakfast. Those staying in West Maui should dine at The Gazebo, followed by a stroll along the Kapalua Coastal Trail. Drive to Kahakuloa, stopping on the way at the Nakalele Blowhole or the beach at Mokulei‘a Bay. If the conditions are calm and you can’t get enough snorkeling, head to Honolua Bay. End the day with happy hour at the Sea House restaurant.

If you’re staying in South Maui, brunch at Kihei Caffe before making the drive to Makena. Spend the day at Maluaka Beach, exploring to the end of the road, and walking the length of Big Beach just before sunset.

Day 6

Drive to Pa‘ia and begin the day with a stroll down Baldwin Beach, followed by breakfast at Café des Amis. Enjoy the Road to Hana at a leisurely pace, taking time to hike to Twin Falls and explore the Ke‘anae Peninsula. Check into your accommodations in Hana and enjoy sunset from Hamoa Beach.

Cliffs of eastern Maui along the Road to Hana.
Along the famous Road to Hana. Photo © Maria Luisa Lopez Estivill/123rf.

Day 7

Catch the sunrise from Wai‘anapanapa State Park. Visit the popular Pools of ‘Ohe‘o before day-trippers arrive around 11am. Spend a couple of hours exploring the pools and hiking the Pipiwai Trail. If the weather is nice, wrap around the back side of the island on the narrow and rugged “back road.” Hike to Alelele Falls, grab a cold drink at the Kaupo Store, and experience a coast that feels like the end of the earth.

Day 8

Downtime: Sleep in as late as you’d like, lounge by the pool, get a massage. Breathe deeply.

Day 9

Spend the day in rural Upcountry. Enjoy breakfast on the lanai at Grandma’s Coffee House, followed by a stroll down Thompson Road. Drive to Ulupalakua for a midday wine-tasting, and then double back the way you came to the town of Makawao for some shopping and lunch at Polli’s Mexican Restaurant. Spend the afternoon in chic Pa‘ia, although don’t linger too long: You need to make it to the Old Lahaina Luau by 5pm to celebrate your last night on the island.

Day 10

Gradually make your way toward Kahului Airport. Stop in at the Maui Ocean Center for one last glimpse of marinelife. Continuing on to Wailuku, make the short drive into ‘Iao Valley to see the famous needle. At Kanaha Beach Park, watch the windsurfers. Think about how you’ll miss Maui—and plan your next visit.

Color Map of Maui, Hawaii
Maui

Best of Maui Pinterest graphic


Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Maui.

Accessibility in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico

Accessibility for travelers throughout the southwest varies from state to state, but in general you’ll find levels on par with the rest of the United States. Utah takes the lead for leaping ahead of providing the bare necessities; Arizona’s a close runner-up; and New Mexico trails behind due to its number of historic properties.

Inside the Visitors Center at the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
Inside the Visitors Center at the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

But first things first: If you’ll be visiting a lot of wilderness areas, you should get the National Park Service’s Access Pass (888/467-2757), a free lifetime pass that grants admission for the pass-holder and three adults to all national parks, national forests, and the like, as well as discounts on interpretive services, camping fees, fishing licenses, and more. Apply in person at any federally managed park or wilderness area; you must show medical documentation of blindness or permanent disability.

The NPS Access Pass. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
The NPS Access Pass. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

[pullquote align=right]Wheelchair access can be frustrating in some historic properties and on the narrower sidewalks of Santa Fe and Taos.[/pullquote]The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority provides for information on the assistance available in Las Vegas.

Travelers with disabilities will find Utah quite progressive when it comes to accessibility issues, especially in the heavily traveled national parks in southern Utah. Most parks offer all-abilities trails, and many hotels advertise their fully accessible facilities.

Wheelchair access can be frustrating in some historic properties and on the narrower sidewalks of Santa Fe and Taos, but in most other respects, travelers with disabilities should find no more problems in New Mexico than elsewhere in the United States. Public buses are wheelchair-accessible, an increasing number of hotels have ADA-compliant rooms, and you can even get out in nature a bit on paved trails such as the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve loop or the Paseo del Bosque in Albuquerque.

Many of the best sights in Arizona are accessible in one way or another. Grand Canyon National Park operates wheelchair-accessible park shuttles and the park’s website has a downloadable accessibility guide. The Grand Canyon and most of the other major federal parks have accessible trails and viewpoints. For advice and links to other helpful Internet resources, go to www.disabledtravelers.com, which is based in Arizona and is full of accessible travel information, though it’s not specific to the state. The National Accessible Travelers Database may also be helpful. For questions specific to Arizona, you may want to contact the state Department of Administration’s Office for Americans with Disabilities (100 N. 15th Ave., Ste. 361, Phoenix, 602/542-6276 or 800/358-3617, or TTY 602/542-6686).


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

The Best Places to Eat in Wailea

Prices in Wailea are much higher than in other parts of the island, and double the cost in Kihei. You’re often paying for master chefs, exceptional service, and unparalleled ambience in world-class resorts, which oftentimes makes it worth the experience. However, if you venture outside of the resort areas, there are also numerous places for a filling and affordable meal.

Open-air dining at Nick's Fishmarket in Wailea.
Enjoy fine dining at Nick’s Fishmarket in the Fairmont Kea Lani. Photo courtesy of Nick’s Fishmarket.

Hawaiian Regional

At the Four Seasons, Duo (3900 Wailea Alanui, 808/874-8000, 6:30am-11am, 5:30pm-9pm daily, $30-50) ranks in the upper echelon of fine island cuisine. The dinner menu is dominated by steak and seafood options such as Brandt True filet mignon and shiso panko-crusted ahi. For something light, try the lobster bisque. The breakfast buffet is lauded as the best in Wailea.

At the beautiful Grand Wailea, Humuhumunukunukuapua‘a (3850 Wailea Alanui Dr., 808/875-1234, 5:30pm-9pm daily, $30-49) is not only one of the hardest restaurants to pronounce, it’s also one of the most popular. Named after the state fish, “Humu” sits in a thatched-roof Polynesian structure afloat on its own million-gallon saltwater lagoon. Large plates include the famous Hawaiian spiny lobster dish, where you can choose your lobster from the lagoon, as well as crispy mahimahi or fresh opakapaka. The sunset view looking over the lagoon is the classic image of paradise. The third Thursday of every month is the Ka Malama Dinner ($150), where the head chef, Mike Lofaro, teams with the resort’s Hawaiian Cultural Ambassador to create a meal that’s based around the traditional Hawaiian lunar calendar. The concept for the meal was so successful that it led to a television show, Search Hawaii, that’s a fusion of culture and food.

For more plantation-inspired cuisine, Ka‘ana Kitchen (3550 Wailea Alanui Dr., 808/573-1234, 6:30am-11am and 5:30pm-9pm daily), inside the Andaz, is popular for both breakfast and dinner, where the chefs prepare food in an open-air kitchen you can see from your table. For breakfast, try the kalua pork Benedict with ponzu hollandaise ($22), and for dinner, abalone risotto ($31) or tender wagyu beef cheeks ($47).

Seafood

In the Fairmont Kea Lani, Nick’s Fishmarket (4100 Wailea Alanui Dr., 808/879-7224, 5:30pm-9:45pm daily, $30-50) has whitewashed walls, a vine-covered trellis, and Mediterranean ambience. Selections include opah, mahimahi Kona kampachi, and Moroccan spiced salmon, along with creative sides like wasabi mashed potatoes and mango peppercorn chutney. Reservations are recommended.

Strawberries and cream flambeed tableside at Nick's Fishmarket in Wailea.
Strawberries Panzini flambéed tableside at Nick’s Fishmarket in Wailea. Photo courtesy of Nick’s Fishmarket.

Italian

Wailea’s best pizza, Manoli’s Pizza Company (100 Wailea Ike Dr., 808/874-7499, 11:30am-10pm daily, $16-22) is walking distance from many of the hotels, across from the Shops at Wailea. It serves 14-inch thin-crust pizzas, with organic and gluten-free options and toppings that include shrimp, pesto, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese. There are salads, pasta, and a selection of 20 wines, and specials at happy hour, 3pm-6pm and again 9pm-midnight daily.

At the luxurious Four Seasons Resort, the tables at Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante (3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., 808/874-8000, 11:30am-8pm daily, $30-50) are close enough to the ocean that you can dine to the sound of the waves. Clink glasses beneath the stars and savor the authentic cucina rustica while listening to a live violin. Lunch is more casual, with wood-fired pizzas, and why not some pinot gris?

Up on the hill, The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea (555 Kaukahi Rd., 808/879-2224, 5pm-9:30pm daily) has a sweeping sunset view from the balcony looking over Wailea, and tremendously fancy Italian fine dining with a wine list that runs for miles. The service is spectacular, and much of the produce and herbs for the dishes are sourced on the property. Reservations are advised, and the menu changes seasonally.

American

The first restaurant you’ll encounter in Wailea approaching from Pi‘ilani Highway is Monkeypod Kitchen (10 Wailea Ike Dr., 808/891-2322, 11:30am-10:30pm daily, $13-35), the brainchild of renowned Maui chef Peter Merriman. Ingredients are all sourced locally, supporting sustainable farming and ensuring fresh, healthy meals. Dinner options range from sesame-crusted mahimahi to bulgogi pork tacos in an Asian pear aioli, or an organic spinach and quinoa salad big enough to share. The craft beer list is the best in Wailea. To save a few bucks, visit during happy hour, 3pm-5:30pm and again 9pm-11pm daily, when appetizers are 50 percent off and pizzas are only $9.

Markets

For a quick meal in Wailea, there are thankfully some affordable options. At the Island Gourmet Market (3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., 808/847-5005, 6:30am-10:30pm daily) inside the Shops at Wailea, you can find breakfast ($6-8), chili and rice ($6) for a filling lunch, açaí bowls ($7) that provide a little health, and poke bowls ($7) for a fish power lunch. There’s a coffee shop inside the store as well as a decent wine selection.

Up the hill, at The Market Maui (10 Wailea Ike Dr., 808/879-2433, 8am-7:30pm daily), the sandwich, smoothie, and coffee offerings are a little more gourmet, with prices that are reasonable for Wailea. Recharge with a Kumu Kale smoothie ($8), or sink your teeth into sourdough topped with cured meats, olives, and horseradish ($12). The Market is located inside the Wailea Gateway Plaza, directly under Monkeypod.


Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Maui.

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